April 18 - May 12, Glassell Gallery
Every fall, I begin planning for the annual alumni exhibit, making a list of past students who are still active in the visual arts. One of the artists on my list was Paul Chapman ’71. I knew Paul as a parent, alum, SJS board member, and avid photographer. His son, Taylor ’01, was also a student of mine. I was lucky enough to have spent time at his Galveston house where Paul was in his element. He loved the beach, where his favorite pastimes were surfing, sharing his knowledge with beginners, and hosting evening gatherings full of stories.
I had heard about Paul’s time as a Rice University photography student. Stuck in a department with no darkroom facilities, Paul decided to design and construct his own darkroom in a closet so he could create beautiful silver print photos. It is only natural that he would build more darkrooms in his life.
In the late ’90s, Paul was integral in reviving the St. John’s Photography Department, which had been dormant for many years. He helped in the design and production of the current classroom and darkroom facility in Farish Hall and insisted on a full-time instructor. Paul has left a lasting legacy in the visual arts at St. John’s.
The one aspect of Paul’s life that I did not know much about was his work in photography and the images he captured throughout his adventurous life. When Paul unexpectedly passed away this fall, I immediately wanted to dedicate the entire gallery to his work. I asked his sons, Dillon ’07 and Taylor ’01, to help curate a selection of their father’s photos that we could display during our annual alumni weekend.
At this writing I still have not reviewed their selections, but I wait in anticipation, along with the SJS community, to see the world through the lens of beloved friend and SJS colleague, Paul Chapman.
Dan Havel, Gallery Director